The Young Priest Initiative

The Young Priest Initiative (YPI) is a vehicle for finding, forming and supporting young leaders to serve the Episcopal Church. YPI allows young adults to discern a call to leadership outside of the typical parish setting. This happens through: 

  • Retreat: Space for young adults to discern their call to leadership, typically in March.
  • Exploring  the Church: Prior to the retreat, seekers are asked to complete a set of church visits and conversations with church professionals.
  • Internship: A paid internship places interns in full-time parish ministry with an experienced priest, typically during the summer after the retreat.
  • Community Discernment: Seekers meet four times over the summer for group discernment.
  • Mentoring: Throughout the process, members of the YPI committee mentor seekers.

Commitment & Timeline

Beginning in December 2018, the basic outline of YPI will be: 

  • December-January: Applications accepted. 
  • Prior to retreat: Complete Exploring the Church.
  • March: YPI opening retreat
  • After March: Internship conversations
  • Summer: Four group discernment sessions
  • Fall: (If discerned) prepare postulancy application

Good Candidates for YPI

  • Bright, energetic Episcopalians with a passion for ministry and a desire to be leaders in the Church.
  • Juniors and seniors in college and those a few years out of college.
  • Self-starting, healthy and emotionally mature.
  • Community oriented, connected to mission work and willing to seek out and engage with those who don’t come to church.
  • Skilled in teaching, writing and communicating.

Applying

Before applying, we encourage you to have a conversation (or series of conversations) with the priest or campus minister most active in your life, whether that be the rector of the parish where you grew up, the priest at your adopted church while at school, or your college chaplain. This person will write a letter of recommendation on your behalf. A detailed description of what to write is included in the application as well as a separate document, below.

Please submit the completed application and recommendation letter via email to the Revs. Chris Miller & Margaret Peel, YPI co-directors; and Ed Keithly, deputy director of transition ministry (cmiller@immanueloc.org; margaret@standrews.net; ekeithly@thediocese.net).

YPI in Action

Since 1999, YPI has worked with over 100 young adults, many of whom continue their ministry as ordained priests or lay leaders. YPI alumni includes:

  • The Rev. Justin McIntosh, Rector of Leeds Church, Markham
  • The Rev. Susan Daughtry, missioner for formation, Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota
  • Ms. Paris Ball, director of christian formation for the Diocese of Virginia

Meet the Directors

Chris Miller is the rector of Immanuel Old Church, Mechanicsville. He was ordained in 2015 and sponsored by YPI, so he leads the initiative with recent, relevant experience of the discernment and formation process. He is passionate about this ministry, an able small-group facilitator, and has years of experience coaching and working with young people. Chris graduated from Harvard University in 2010 and served as Bp. Gulick’s assistant for a year before attending VTS, where he received his M.Div. in 2015. Email: cmiller@immanueloc.org

Margaret Peel is the associate rector of St. Andrew's, Burke, where she serves on a clergy team and oversees faith formation for all ages. Margaret has 16 years’ experience working with youth in Episcopal churches and schools and she is passionate about guiding young people on their faith journey. Margaret completed her undergraduate degree in English at Sewanee, and later earned a Master’s in Education, with a focus on non-profit leadership, from Belmont University in Nashville. Margaret received her Master of Divinity degree from VTS in 2013, and was ordained later that year. Email: margaret@standrews.net